They are words that inspire panic in any well-meaning parent.
“I’m going to tell you something,” my daughter announced this week, “but you have to promise me you won’t tell any other member of this family.”
Talk about the ultimate morals test.
On one hand, I was thrilled and relieved that Daughter trusted me enough to share her deep, dark secret.
On the other, keep a secret from my husband?
We just don’t have that kind of marriage.
On the other hand, I was quaking in my chair.
What was she about unload?
That makes three hands.
I needed each one to get through this moment.
Was she pregnant?
Did she know something dangerous about one of her friends?
Have you been here, Dear Reader?
Have you had to ask yourself how far you’re willing to go to learn the secret of someone you love?
“Okay, I promise,” I said, bracing my fingers around the side of my chair for support for what I was about to hear.
For the potential damage I was doing to my marriage.
“I bought a box of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies at school today,” she whispered. “I will share a few with you, but we can’t tell anyone else in this house because you know how that will go.”
Actually, I do.
Husband, the man who would give up his own life for anyone in our family, is not the most talented dessert sharer.
Give him a lick, he’ll take a mile of scoop.
He’s no better with cake, pie, or in this case, cookies.
Our other child can be a food hoarder.
Only the local squirrel blogs know the extent of treats she has stashed about her messy room.
And let’s not forget.
We’re not just talking cookies here.
Thin Mints, for heaven’s sake.
The royalty of all cookies.
“You have a point,” I admitted to Daughter.
With my quadruple-pinky swear to not tell, Daughter divvied up my portion.
Four precious dark brown discs of chocolate minty yum.
Go ahead and judge if you must.
For not only did I betray Husband.
I ultimately betrayed Daughter.
“Our daughter has a box of Thin Mints stashed in her bedroom!” I blurted out last night to Husband, overburdened with the idea of keeping a secret from him.
“Oh, I spied those last night,” he responded casually. “Went in to say, ‘Good night,’ and they were sitting next to her on her bed.”
So, today when she gets home from school I will need to deliver the words that will instill panic.
No doubt this will all inspire a dinner table discussion on sharing.
Nothing like a life lesson discussion with unenthused teenagers.
Afterward, I’ll need to soothe my nerves.
Good thing I have my stash of cookies.
In the freezer behind the bag of lima beans.
Fort Knox couldn’t be a safer hiding place.
Because, well, lima beans.
Please don’t tell.
Can this just be our little secret?